AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Tornado warnings can be very helpful, but if it turns out not to be a tornado, then that can make future warnings harder to believe.
The false alarm rate for tornado warnings, unfortunately, is way too high, so the National Weather Service is looking at changing the way they warn.
False alarms can cause people to ignore tornado warnings in the future, and when there actually is a tornado, ignored warnings can cost lives.
Over the last couple of years the NWS has been making a big effort to reduce the number of tornado warnings issued, so that people take the warnings more seriously. Joe Dellicarpini, a science and operations officer for the National Weather Service, said that the problem continues to be the fact that it is difficult to detect a tornado.
“Really there’s a lack of, despite all the technology, a lack of what causes some storms to develop tornadoes and some not to. So we are really looking at signals that we see on the radar and anticipating things a little bit,” Dellicarpini said.
Not only is reducing the false alarm rate important, but so is increasing the detection rate and making sure that tornadoes do not get missed.